Delaware Convicted Rapist Dies After Getting Tested For COVID-19 Three Times

Smyrna – On Thursday, April 16, Joseph S. Russo, a 73-year-old inmate housed at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center (JTVCC) passed away at Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus after complications from multiple underlying health issues.

Joseph S. Russo, 73, was admitted to Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus on Tuesday evening, April 14, 2020, after developing a fever and respiratory symptoms. Preliminary information indicates Russo died of complications from respiratory failure.

Russo had received a proactive COVID-19 test at JTVCC on April 10 as part of the DOC’s proactive monitoring of 45 asymptomatic inmates in a minimum-security housing unit, including twice-daily temperature checks. That COVID-19 test result was negative. After admission to Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus, a second COVID-19 test was administered on April 14 and a negative test result was returned from the second test as well. A third COVID-19 test was subsequently administered by Bayhealth staff on April 15, and that result is currently pending from the state public health laboratory.

Russo, of Newark, Delaware, was serving a life sentence for a conviction for Unlawful Sexual Intercourse. In October 1994, Russo was tried and convicted of two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse in the first degree, five counts of unlawful sexual contact in the second degree and other charges. On December 2, 1994, the defendant was sentenced to life in prison plus 40 years, to be served consecutively.

Russo’s body has been released to the Delaware Division of Forensic Science.

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